Changes to the Occupational Health and Safety Act and revised regulations take effect on December 1, 2021. Read more about the changes to OHS laws.
How an investigation happens
By law, Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) can only investigate incidents at work sites that fall under provincial OHS legislation. Serious injuries or incidents that are required to be reported to an OHS Director as soon as possible are defined in Section 33 of the OHS Act.
After a serious incident takes place at a work site, the prime contractor or, if there is no prime contractor, the employer must report the time, place and nature of the injury or incident to an OHS Director as soon as possible. Visit Report serious injuries, illnesses or incidents for more information.
Once a call is received, it is triaged by the Investigations Unit and assigned to an OHS investigator.
OHS investigators investigate the work site to determine the causes and circumstances of the serious injury or incident.
During the course of an investigation, OHS collects information and analyzes it to determine the facts and identify any non-compliance with OHS laws.
OHS conducts an enforcement action review of the investigation, to determine if the incident file should be submitted to Alberta Justice and Solicitor General for consideration for prosecution. Files that are not referred to Alberta Justice and Solicitor General are closed. Fatality investigation reports are made public by publishing online.
Files referred to Alberta Justice and Solicitor General are reviewed to determine if the evidence support charges. When evidence does not support a reasonable likelihood of a conviction or if the prosecution is not in the public interest, the investigation is closed. The fatality investigation report is made public by publishing online.
When Alberta Justice and Solicitor General determines there is a reasonable likelihood of conviction and the prosecution is in the public interest, charges are laid. Once the summons has been served to all accused work site parties, the OHS charges are posted online at OHS charges pending.
OHS publishes fatality investigation reports online after investigations and all court proceedings, if any, are completed.
OHS also issues industry notices about fatalities at Alberta work sites.
Disclaimer: In case of any inconsistency between this information and the OHS Act, Regulation or Code, the legislation will always prevail.
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